In a world where online shopping is as familiar and easy as tying your shoes every morning, it’s inevitable that consumer habits have quickly evolved. Did people 30 years ago think that shoppers would be ordering household items through a computer, and having them seamlessly delivered to their doorstep within 48 hours? Probably not. But with advancements in technology come new ways for customers to interact with brands and for retailers to proactively engage with customers.

One of the latest ways that retailers are engaging with customers? Instagram. More and more brands are utilizing the social media platform to get in front of their customers and promote their products – often through influencer marketing campaigns with celebrities and lifestyle accounts. Top retailers recognize the amount of attention younger folks are giving Instagram throughout their daily lives and are quickly looking to capitalize on it. Though shoppers don’t typically make purchases in the app itself, the platform is quickly becoming a sort of new-age, digital catalogue for retailers – where users are constantly exposed to the latest shopping crazes, fashion trends and more.

In fact, a Chicago-based jewelry designer recently conducted a study looking at how Instagram is influencing style purchases, finding that the popular app is having a significant impact in e-commerce. Among the 2,000 Instagram users surveyed:

  • 72 percent have purchased a product they saw on the app
  • 81 percent use the app often/very often
  • 48 percent check Instagram multiple times per day

This kind of focused attention on social media presents a unique opportunity for retailers to extend their brand presence and the customer experience to new territory, which is rapidly developing into an integral part of the shopper lifecycle.

More and more brands are utilizing the social media platform Instagram to get in front of their customers.

Not long ago, shoppers flipped through catalogs or magazine ads to get a sense of the latest styles and trends. Now social media is filling that role, but there’s a major difference – it’s interactive. And that means that retailers need to be attentive to social media throughout the shopper lifecycle. It’s more than just a means of influencing buying decisions and is a touchpoint that should be leveraged both pre-and post-purchase.

Social platforms are not going anywhere anytime soon. To put things in perspective, nearly 37 percent of the world’s population already uses social media, and that number is only going to grow.